OTA2 Update for July 2014

At the end of July 2014 the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.35 million. There are 5.68 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.17 million.

Service Level Agreements and Guarantees


A number of CP’s felt that the existing set of SLA/SLG around Openreach products and services was incomplete and OTA was asked to facilitate a review with a 6 month timetable. OTA2 invited CP’s to review and add their support or otherwise to an original paper that was submitted by one CP. The final submission of agreed and supported SLA/SLG proposals was made to Openreach on 17th April with the 6 month negotiating window ending on 17th October

An initial set of 8 CP “asks” were submitted covering a variety of products but largely centred on Copper.
There are weekly calls and face to face meetings to review progress.

Both sides have been positive and there appears sufficient consensus that a reasonable level of agreement should be anticipated within the six month window.  

A number of deliverables have recently slipped within individual programmes which is of concern as we have entered the holiday period which will further hinder progress

Two additional SLA/SLG proposals have been submitted on 17th July; one from Sky and one from Openreach, these will run with their own 6 month timetable.


An industry submission of SLA/SLG proposals on Legacy EAD was made on 23rd May but the start date of the 6 month negotiation window was agreed as 4th June with the window ending 4th December.

The CP ask sought SLGs against the existing EAD measures for KCI (Keep Customer Informed messages) 1, 2 and 3 plus accuracy/frequency of updates

The initial face-to-face meeting appeared to have agreed a way forward based on developing an updated set of metrics and seeking improved date certainty without constant use of deemed consent. This was to be progressed via a small work group

A number of concerns have been raised by some CPs involved in the work group. The onus is currently on CPs to agree a consensual position regarding any updated request to take back to Openreach. As a result the status of the SLA/SLG activity is less clear in terms of both scope and the six month negotiating window.

Consumer Switching


Following on from Ofcom’s Statement on Consumer Switching (http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/consumer-switching-review/statement/), OTA2 continue to host fortnightly ‘working group’ sessions which have been well attended by a broad range of stakeholders.

What is the Industry task set by Ofcom?

  • By June 2015, to implement a single Harmonised Gaining Provider-led NoT (Notice of Transfer) Switching Process for any consumers looking to switch their voice and/or broadband services to a new Service Provider.
  • Simpler for Consumers & CP Service Agents to understand – Less confusion.
  • Losing Providers less able to frustrate the Consumers’ decision to switch away.
  • Increased competition in market place.

The Challenge

  • Stakeholder community is industry-wide…Openreach, Wholesalers, Resellers and Retailers so engagement is a real challenge.
  • Every ‘switch’ transaction involves Gaining & Losing supply chains with varying complexity
  • All stakeholders need to modify existing order-handling systems & processes by Jan’15 to allow thorough end–to-end testing before June’15 cutover

What’s been done so far?

  • OTA2 & Ofcom are running regular Industry working groups.
  • Committed development plans have now been registered by the major (Wholesaler) Stakeholders with the programme team, enabling detailed work to commence in producing a consolidated ‘Industry’ plan.
  • A separate piece of work is in train to produce a detailed communications plan which will ensure all stakeholders are made aware of the programme objectives and their role within it. 
  • Workshops underway to define the ‘all important’ Testing strategy

Copper Service Improvements

ELF (Early Life Failure) Improvements

This has proved to be a very important project for both CP’s and Openreach.

For CP’s this represents the most important customer engagement in the establishment of a new contract and service with the customer. Future relationships are always impacted by this first action.

For Openreach, this represents a major cost of failure by not trapping problems before service is established.
Breakdown of order types revealed that the performance of non visited provides were significantly worse. This also extended into the visit save process.

Progress on MPF Start of Stop has been made showing a steady month on month reduction. This has been achieved by improving the healthy/unhealthy markers which drives the opportunity to deliver provides without visits.

The programme started at the end of 2013 has now been completed.

The OTA2 have now turned attention to the performance of NGA ELFs. To help this analysis Openreach are now compiling equivalent data sets for NGA that will be reviewed with the OTA2 and in turn with the lead CP’s

OTA2 Tasks

All of the original tasks have now been closed with the exception of the work on Early Life Failures (ELFs).
The programme has been very successful in delivering tangible benefits, saving thousands of unnecessary engineering visits, aiding more accurate provisions and improving customer experience.

Given this success, we are now working with Openreach and Industry on new tasks to streamline processes to the benefit of Customers.

New OTA2 Tasks

  • Preventing Failure, to look at to look at the CP elements of the Newsites, which will include areas such as address matching, ordering the right product, setting the right customer expectations, only using escalation paths in valid circumstances.
  • Fast Recovery, to look at the CP elements of the T2R glass ceiling, such as access, expectation setting, quality of notes and testing, use of appropriate products (CDTA, SFI etc), data sharing.
  • Communication, to look at the CP elements of provision ELFs, which will include raising the right report, expectation setting, notes quality extending to NGA as well as copper.

Reduce Consumer Harm
Ofcom-sponsored (& OTA2-led) programme aimed at reducing Consumer complaints due to Erroneous Landline Transfers (ELTs)

Summary status

  • Exhaustive Root cause analyses and Stakeholder workshops leading to significant reduction in volume of ELT complaints from consumers
  • Working Line Takeover - Best Practice Guide – Comprehensive Re-fresh 95% complete
  • Direct Linkage to Ofcom Consumer Switching statement (CPs to achieve Exact Address match when submitting their provision orders)
  • Further work required to establish a slick industry process for  urgent service restoration (for those ELTs which ‘slip the net’)

Number Porting (Fixed Line)


    • Improved  Order Handling & Port Activation processes have been introduced for  ‘Complex’ Multi-line orders
    • Business CPs (inc. Openreach Ops) collaborating more effectively to make things better
    • Industry Process documentation…..completely refreshed….available to all via OTA2 web-site
    • Needs of Next-Gen CPs beginning to drive long-overdue process transformation.

Current Challenges

    • Industry-Wide Order Handling - Performance Issues
    • Still lacking an effective means of measuring performance (i.e. CP-specific & Industry-wide)
    • Out of Hours Porting initiative ‘stalled’ for last 9 months awaiting BT Wholesale ‘green’ light
    • Increased Executive sponsorship needed to support the various  industry-wide initiatives

MBORC Transparency

OTA2 continue to lead a collaborative effort involving Openreach & CPs aimed at improving the level of transparency associated with each MBORC notification & overall MIS reporting.

Good progress is being made. Next workshop is planned for 20th August.

Service Levels

Copper Repair: Copper repair performance (LLU & WLR) has improved in recent weeks with ‘on time repair’ back on an improving trend, averaging 65-70% currently.

Copper Provision: Openreach FAD (First Available Date) performance nationally, is a creditable 7.1 working days (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

Our KPI charts show current performance levels.

Ethernet Services

Service Delivery continues to be a problem with unacceptably high lead times for delivery. Openreach have made significant changes to the delivery and control organisations but, from the CPs perspective, there is little sign of the expected recovery in performance. CPs are also raising concerns over procedural changes which are being implemented without any reference to industry which causes more confusion and conflict at the working level.

The work to redefine the EAD product and to move the delivery system to EMP is continuing. The bi-lateral meetings with CPs have been held and the product blueprint shared. The next stage is to explore some of the difficult challenges such as self-appointing.

The base-lining of EMP capability has moved forward with a concerted effort to review the challenges of taking a single element (blocked duct) and reviewing the supporting operational and systems procedures to ensure that the move to EMP can support the multiplicity of variations thrown up by encountering a blocked duct.

Business Market Service Improvement Programme

One of the key areas for Business CPs is Jeopardy Management, which has been a long standing area of concern. Openreach announced a new strategic direction in this area that seeks to establish a more proactive approach to anticipating issues and to their recovery. This superseded the previous process for escalations implemented in Autumn 2013. Many of the CP personnel associated with the business work streams were also needed to support this new jeopardy approach so it was been agreed to scale back some of the business market activities to facilitate this. In line with this lower intensity, face to face reviews have been scaled back to quarterly.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • ELF reduction programme
  • Address Data Matching Integrity issues
  • WLR/LLU Process development
  • Ethernet Process Development
  • Ethernet Strategic Systems review
  • Strategic Review of Consumer Switching
  • Erroneous Fixed Line Transfers activity
  • Urgent Service Restoration Process
  • Fixed line number porting - Improvements
  • Service levels (LLU/WLR/Ethernet)
  • Minimum Security Standards
  • Plan & Build Performance Issues
  • SLA/SLG Developments

Rod Smith